Cents Dev Squad beaten by Skolars B team

Josh Lawrence and Darren Westhead make the tackle.

Josh Lawrence and Darren Westhead make the tackle. - Credit: Archant

St Albans Centurions Development Squad were beaten 30-16 by London Skolars B Team at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

The Cents travelled with six first teamers and 11 development players in the side. The idea behind the development squads is that the more experienced players play on the pitch for short periods of time, helping and advising players new to rugby league through the game.

London Skolars played the same system, although being a professional club, they had more A team players in their squad and were led by ex Superleague player and current first team coach Joe Mbu.

The game was played in glorious sunshine with both teams playing free-flowing rugby. The Skolars got onto the score sheet first, scoring two converted tries in the ninth and 16th minutes, followed by a try in the 23rd minute.

It was during one of these moves that Centurions team captain Sam Norris broke his arm and had to be taken to hospital. But, rather than heads going down, the Cents began putting more and more pressure on the London team which culminated in James Jaundrell, playing his very first game for St Albans, powering down the wing to score an unconverted try in the corner. The end of the first half saw the home team leading 16-4.

The second half started well for the St Albans boys as Phil Shire crashed over in the corner to score an unconverted try five minutes after the restart.

Although Cents were in charge for most of the period after kick off, with new boys Sam Bucknall and Tabards Harry Trude playing great rugby, Skolars, with the help of their A team players, got back into the game and scored three tries.

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However, the last ten minutes were all St Albans. First of all Jaundrell got his second try of the game after breaking two tackles, followed by Josh Lawrence, unstoppable from fifteen yards out, crossing for St Albans. Both tries were unconverted. Cents were also held up on or over the line on two other occasions.

Centurions’ director of rugby David Stevens said: “This Merit League is all about bringing on boys new to our game. Today we had a squad with 11 development players facing a professional rugby team’s development squad that also comprised an ex Superleague player and quite a few of their A team players.

“I don’t think they did too badly at all against opponents like that. After the game the team were not downhearted, they really enjoyed this run out, and apart from Sam Norris broken arm, we had a good day at the office.”

The Cents are not playing in the league next week as they are taking part in the Brighton 9’s Rugby League festival.